Rank-And-File Republicans Turn On Trump In New Effort To Block His Reelection

A new ad campaign puts Republican voters front-and-center to talk about President Donald Trump ― but it’s not an endorsement. 

Just the opposite: They’re all explaining why they can’t vote for Trump, and why many plan to cast a ballot for former Vice President Joe Biden even when they disagree on policy, in the new campaign called Republican Voters Against Trump.

“I’d vote for a tuna fish sandwich before I’d vote for Donald Trump again,” said Jack Spielman, who voted for Trump in 2016 but now calls him “toxic.” 

The group ― a project of Defending Democracy Together, a collection of anti-Trump conservatives ― says it has nearly 100 video testimonials so far with more to come. 

And they’re planning to spend $10 million promoting them across social media as well as on television, with some appearing on Fox News next week.  

Republican Voters Against Trump spokesperson Sarah Longwell said in a statement that disaffected GOP voters could be the most effective voices of persuasion for Biden. 

“There are millions of voters who used to be reliable Republicans but are disgusted by the Trump administration,” she said. “Some are upset about the skyrocketing debt. Others about how he has debased the office. Some wish he would pursue a more humane immigration policy.”

But the one thing that unites them all, she added, is “wanting the country to move on from this deeply un-American presidency.”

More videos from disaffected conservatives ― including former Trump voters who’ve had enough ― are available on the group’s website, which also has a form for Republicans who want to share their own stories. 

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'No One Wants to Hear From the Birther-in-Chief,' Don Lemon Erupts About Trump and the George Floyd Killing

After U.S. Attorney Erica MacDonald held a press conference on the killing of George Floyd by police, CNN’s Don Lemon blasted President Trump and MacDonald for speaking about the president’s involvement in the case.

During the Thursday press conference, MacDonald said the investigation into George Floyd’s death is ongoing and did not announce any charges against the four Minneapolis police officers involved. But according to Mediaite, the attorney general did say: “President Trump, as well as Attorney General William Barr, are directly and actively monitoring the investigation in this case.”

But Lemon was having none of it and blasted MacDonald for naming the president during the press conference and quickly rattled off some of Trump’s previous racist statements and opinions about former president Barack Obama, the Central Park Five and the white supremacist protest in Charlottesville.

“No one wants to hear from the man who wanted the death penalty to come back for the Central Park Five,” Lemon said. “No one wants to hear from the man who says that the former president was not born in this country. No one wants to hear from the man who said there are ‘very fine people on both sides.’ Do you understand what I am saying?”

Lemon continued, “No one wants to hear from the person that they perceive as contributing to situations like this in this society. Not directly, but allowing people like that to think they can get away from this. No one wants to hear from the Birther-in-Chief, from the ‘sons of bitches’- calling person, who says that athletes are kneeling for this very reason.”

Protesters have marched in Minneapolis following Floyd’s death for three straight nights as residents call for legal action against the officers involved. Before his death, Floyd was arrested, cuffed and pinned by a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, because a grocery clerk suspected him of writing a bad check. While restraining Floyd, Chauvin knelt on his neck for several minutes —despite the man’s pleas of “I can’t breathe” — while Floyd lost consciousness and bystanders begged the officer to move his knee. Floyd was pronounced dead at an area hospital shortly later.

“He’d be alive today if he were white,” Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey said of Floyd. “I’m not a prosecutor, but let me be clear, the arresting officer killed someone.”

President Trump announced on Wednesday that he asked the FBI and Department of Justice to step in and investigate, but given the president’s prior comments calling white supremacists “very fine people,” it’s no wonder Lemon does not believe the president’s concern is legitimate.

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Trump Doubles Down On Fact-Free Fraud Theory About Mail-In Voting

President Donald Trump on Sunday posted on Twitter alleging that mail-in ballots allow for widespread election fraud, despite widespread evidence to the contrary.

Trump — who has previously voted by mail employing the very process he now decries — has railed against states offering mail-in voting leading up to this year’s national elections at the same time millions of Americans worry about voting in person during the coronavirus pandemic. 

“The United States cannot have all Mail In Ballots,” Trump tweeted Sunday before making the unsubstantiated claim that people steal the ballots from mailboxes in order to print thousands of forgeries and “force” others to sign them.

Meanwhile, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien told CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday that U.S. national security agencies have a “very strong infrastructure” to combat election interference and to “make sure we have a free and fair election” in November.

Several states with both Republican and Democratic leadership already allow voting by mail. Others have sought to expand voter access to mail-in ballots as public health officials continue to discourage large gatherings to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Trump has openly mused that higher “levels of voting” would mean “you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.” He argued Sunday that efforts to make voting easier during the pandemic were part of a scam to rig the election, again without offering any evidence or substantiation.   

Trump on Wednesday threatened to withhold funding from the state of Michigan because the state sent voters applications to vote by mail. He issued a similar threat to Nevada. Both Michigan and Nevada are widely considered swing states heading into this year’s presidential election. 

The Republican Party has previously supported efforts to restrict access to mail-in voting, including recent efforts in Wisconsin and Florida.

But a number of Republican lawmakers have publicly distanced themselves from Trump’s and the party’s unfounded arguments that mail-in voting is ripe for corruption.

Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that absentee voting should be allowed “as long as you can do it safely, as long as you can make sure there’s no fraud.” 

“We ought to be able to do absentee ballots like we do it in Florida,” Scott said.  

Earlier this week, GOP Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah told HuffPost he expects “90%” of Utahns to submit mail-in ballots, rebutting Trump’s claim that voting by mail hurts Republicans. 

“It works very, very well. And it’s a very Republican state,” Romney added.

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Chris Wallace Hits Donald Trump With Blunt Fact-Check On Mail-In Ballot Fraud Claims

Fox News host Chris Wallace risked drawing the ire of Donald Trump yet again on Friday after he debunked the president’s false claims on mail-in voter fraud.

Trump has ramped up his rhetoric against mail-in voting in recent weeks, at one point even threatening to withhold federal funds from Nevada and Michigan if they went ahead with sending applications to voters.

That’s despite Trump himself voting by mail in Florida’s GOP primary in March.

Wallace, the host of “Fox News Sunday,” fact-checked the president’s claims on Friday’s broadcast of “America’s Newsroom.”

“Well, you know, I’ve done some deep dive into it, there really is no record of massive fraud or even serious fraud from mail-in voting,” he said.

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“It’s being carried out in Republican states. It’s being carried out in Democratic states,” Wallace continued. “There’s no indication that mail-in voting, as opposed to in-person voting, tends to favor one party over another.”

Wallace noted how “if anything, it tends to favor Republicans” because “the people, now we’re talking about outside a pandemic, who historically have tended to vote most often by mail are elderly people, people over 65, and they tend to vote more Republican than Democratic.”

“Have there been some cases? Yes,” Wallace acknowledged, also citing the potential problem of vote harvesting. “But when people get their ballots and mail them in themselves, no history of fraud at all,” he said.

Trump has also falsely claimed on multiple occasions that up to 5 million votes were illegally cast in the 2016 presidential election. He lost the popular vote to Democratic rival Hillary Clinton by almost 3 million votes.

Wallace’s fact-checking of Trump came amid an escalation in tensions between the president and Fox News, whose primetime hosts, in particular, have been widely accused of being a propaganda vehicle for the Trump administration.

Trump lashed out at the widely watched conservative network earlier this week after anchor Neil Cavuto slammed the president’s claim about taking the unproven drug hydroxychloroquine as protection against the coronavirus.

“Many will disagree, but @FoxNews is doing nothing to help Republicans, and me, get re-elected on November 3rd,” Trump tweeted Thursday.

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Company Wins $1.28 Billion Wall Contract After Wooing Trump On Fox News

A construction company whose CEO regularly went on conservative news shows to appeal to President Donald Trump was awarded a $1.28 billion contract to build a large section of the border wall in Arizona earlier this month, according to several media reports.

Fisher Sand and Gravel, a firm from North Dakota, was awarded the contract by the Army Corps of Engineers on May 6. The Arizona Daily Star, which was the first to confirm the contract, noted the funds will be used to build about 42 miles of black-painted wall, part of Trump’s campaign pledge to construct hundreds of miles of barrier along the southern border with Mexico before the November election.

The company has drawn scrutiny over its unusual strategy to win the bid. The Washington Post reported that CEO Tommy Fisher was initially passed over when the government requested bids to build the structure, but went on a media blitz on networks including Fox News and appealed to notable allies of the president, including former advisor Steve Bannon.

“Hopefully the president will see this,” Fisher said during an appearance last year on “Fox & Friends First,” pledging to build a border wall quicker and cheaper than competitors. 

Trump took notice and began touting the company repeatedly and aggressively in meetings with the Army Corps of Engineers last year. Fisher Sand and Gravel won a separate, $400 million contract last December even though it has little experience building projects like the wall.

“He always brings them up,” North Dakota Sen. Kevin Cramer (R) told the Post last year, noting Fisher had “been very aggressive on TV.”

The Pentagon said in December it was investigating the $400 million award over concerns the proposals didn’t meet operational requirements, although Fisher said there would be “nothing to find” and said he looked forward to providing “the lowest price and the best value.”

The audit is ongoing.

Raini Brunson, a spokeswoman for the Corps, told The Washington Post the latest contract — the largest wall project ever awarded to a single firm — was based on range of factors but ultimately went to the lowest-priced bidder that was technically able to complete the contract.

“Each project cost is contingent upon its unique characteristics such as geotechnical, topographical, hydrological and hydraulic, underground utilities, final real estate access, and the cost of materials and labor,” she told the outlet. 

Fisher’s latest project will cost about $30 million per mile, and the Arizona Daily Star notes that figure is much higher than the $20 million per mile average for other sections of the wall in the state. Part of those increased costs are linked to Trump’s insistence that the structure be painted black to deter climbers, adding some $1.2 million per mile in construction costs, the Post notes. 

Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of Homeland Security, said last week that the White House hoped to see up to 400 miles of wall completed by the end of this year. About 180 miles have been built since Trump took office, Wolf said.

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Republicans Ignore Trump’s Purge Of Government Watchdogs

Five of the nation’s top government watchdogs have been stripped of their positions by President Donald Trump in recent weeks, prompting an outcry from critics who say the president is silencing those with investigatory powers over his administration.

“They all shared one thing in common: They had the audacity to do their jobs and speak the truth. They had the audacity to try and drain the swamp,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said this week, referring to Trump’s 2016 campaign “swamp” slogan about rooting out corruption in the government.

But their ouster didn’t trouble most Senate Republicans, who maintain that it is within Trump’s authority to remove inspectors general as he wishes.

“He gets to hire and fire under the Constitution all people under the executive branch,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters on Tuesday.

In a late Friday evening announcement, Trump notified Congress he was removing State Department Inspector General Steve Linick from his post and replacing him with Stephen Akard, a trusted ally of Vice President Mike Pence.

The move follows similar personnel changes at government watchdog offices in charge of the departments of Defense, Health and Human Services, Transportation, and the intelligence community.

Linick was reportedly investigating why Secretary of State Mike Pompeo fast-tracked more than $8 billion in weapon sales to Saudi Arabia and its allies, as well as whether Pompeo made a staffer run personal errands for him. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Sunday that Trump’s firing of Linick “could be unlawful” if it was intended to retaliate against one of his investigations.

“I don’t know him at all. I never even heard of him,” Trump said of Linick on Monday at an event at the White House, adding that Pompeo should have fired Linick a long time ago since “he’s an Obama appointment, and he had some difficulty.”

Linick’s ouster prompted a letter to Trump from Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), a longtime advocate of inspectors general, urging the president to detail the reasons behind his removal. Grassley said Trump’s claim that he lost confidence in Linick was “not sufficient” as an explanation.

“Inspectors General help ensure transparency and accountability, both of which are critical for taxpayers to have confidence in their government,” Grassley said in the letter. “They should be free from partisan political interference, from either the Executive or Legislative branch.”

Grassley requested the Trump administration provide a fuller explanation within 30 days. The senator made a similar written request of Trump after his removal of Michael Atkison as intelligence community inspector general over a month ago, in April. Trump has not responded to that letter.

At a Senate GOP policy lunch that Trump attended on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, Grassley asked the president about his legislation to lower prescription drug prices but Linick’s ouster did not come up, according to an attendee.

While Sens. Mitt Romney of Utah and Susan Collins of Maine tweeted about Linick’s ouster over the weekend, most of the GOP conference defended Trump over the matter.

“I’m not crying big crocodile tears over this termination. Let’s put it that way,” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said over the weekend in an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“I don’t,” Sen. Steve Daines of Montana said when asked if he had any concerns about the removal of the State Department inspector general.

Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina, meanwhile, noted former President Barack Obama also removed an inspector general during his tenure.

“They serve at the pleasure of the president, and I take at face value [Trump] had valid reasons for making the move,” Tillis said.

Obama ousted Gerald Walpin, the inspector general of the Corporation for National and Community Service, in June of 2009. His removal elicited criticism at the time from some conservative outlets and Fox News, according to The Washington Post.

Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on Monday announced he intended to introduce legislation aimed at shielding inspectors general for the State Department and other foreign affairs agencies from removal.

The bill would limit the removal of inspectors general only for explicit cause, such as malfeasance, misuse of funds, abuse of authority or violation of the law.

“I am increasingly concerned that it appears Inspector General Linick was targeted and removed by President Trump and Secretary Pompeo simply for doing his job,” Menendez said in a statement.

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Trump Touts Fox & Friends Ratings the Morning After Claiming He Was Done with Network



Trump has long been a Fox fan, dating back to his weekly call-in segments on the Fox & Friends program as he built his political profile ahead of the 2016 election. However, he often becomes angry with the network when it appears to disagree with him in any way.

The president lashed out at Fox in late April and blamed the network for "being fed Democrat talking points."

"[Fox News] just doesn’t get what’s happening!" he tweeted, adding in a follow up tweet that he has "No respect for the people running" the network.

Trump's attacks on the media, his ongoing propensity for not heeding science and his affinity for conspiracy theories without evidence have been a staple of his presidency. The 73-year-old often casts a widespread label on the media as an "enemy of the people," cries "fake news" when he disagrees with coverage of his administration, and he often targets specific reporters during press conferences and on social media in an effort to discredit their reporting.

Trump suggested last week that MSNBC Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough was guilty of murder — drawing on a baseless conspiracy theory surrounding the news host that's been promoted by right-wing blogs and message boards.

Journalists at Fox News, which is widely known as Trump's preferred news network, know they aren't immune to the president's social media tantrums either.

Last month, Fox News anchor Bret Baier told PEOPLE the network's anchors feel a responsibility to cover news fairly and responsibly — whether Trump is a fan of its coverage or not.

"Sometimes he characterizes ‘fake news’ as news he doesn’t like," Baier said.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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Whoopi Goldberg Silences Meghan McCain with Commercial Break After Argument Over COVID-19 Bill


Whoopi Goldberg appeared to pull the plug on a discussion with Meghan McCain, sending Monday's episode of The View to a commercial break after a heated exchange about the latest COVID-19 relief bill.

However, a source tells PEOPLE that "given the circumstances" of the hosts filming remotely during the pandemic, "it’s entirely possible that Meghan wasn’t even hearing her in real time."

"They’ve all been doing a great job keeping the show going," the insider adds. "They didn’t miss a beat when things started to shut down — the show kept going with new live shows.”

The panel was discussing the Democrats' latest $3 trillion COVID-19 relief bill proposal, which passed in the House of Representatives but is expected to be turned away in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Some Republican lawmakers denounced the relief bill as a "liberal wish list" last week — a comparison McCain, 35, repeated on Monday before Goldberg, 64, sent the show to a commercial break as McCain was still talking.

"How are we going to tax people if there's no economy?" McCain asked as Goldberg told viewers the show would be right back and ushered a commercial break.

McCain is the youngest and only conservative voice represented on The View's daily panel and often clashes with her co-hosts, who largely lean left on political and social issues.

The panels' latest argument came when co-hosts Sunny Hostin and Joy Behar joined Goldberg in calling for the Democrats' sweeping relief bill to pass in the Senate, with both hosts drawing on their own personal financial struggles in the past in forming their view on the issue.

Hostin and Behar both said they want to see the federal government give more aid to struggling Americans, though Behar admitted the $3 trillion that Democrats requested may be too much but that Congress is supposed to negotiate.

Behar, 77, argued the relief bill would help American workers and families who can't go to work and are relying on unemployment insurance. Hostin, 51, then escalated the discussion when she suggested Republican lawmakers have more cynical reasons to turn the relief package away.

“What this is really about is the 'haves' not wanting the 'have nots' to survive this and that is really, really serious," Hostin said. "We have the money. We just don't seem to have the money to save these people. This is what that's about."

McCain immediately stepped in to counter Hostin.

"That is just ridiculous," McCain said as Goldberg tried to speak at the same time. "It's a Democrat wish list."

"Hold on, I just want to — just let me finish… let me finish my point," Goldberg interjected before sending the show to a commercial break as McCain continued speaking.

When the show came back, the panel moved on to talk about the growing public feud between President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama, who appeared to criticize Trump's handling of the pandemic during his virtual 2020 commencement speech over the weekend.

The rivalry between the two political figures is representative of the broader partisanship between those in the Republican and Democratic political parties, including the hosts of The View.

During Monday's episode, McCain complained that Democrats have "appointed President Obama as nothing short of a saint" and that she and other conservatives believe differently, while her co-hosts celebrated Obama's speech.

“I think at a certain point, we have to start talking to each other in the middle," McCain said. "We have to start talking about the faults on both sides.”

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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Scarborough Spots Moment Trump Hurt 2020 Chances More ‘Than Any Democrat Ever Could’

Joe Scarborough on Tuesday pointed out when he believes President Donald Trump did the most damage to his 2020 reelection campaign.

According to the co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Trump likely doomed himself in April and May when he pondered injecting disinfectant to treat COVID-19, talked about taking an unproven cure and declared war on various government agencies and “every doctor or every scientist or every person who had spent their entire life planning for this moment when it came to vaccines.”

If Trump ends up losing the election in November, Scarborough predicted it would be those two months that would go down in infamy.

“Historians, Americans are going to look back to these months and decide, this is when Donald Trump did more damage to his campaign than any Democrat ever could,” he said.

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Trump ‘Will Lie,’ People Will Die: Republican Lincoln Project Releases Ominous New Video

An ominous new ad released Monday by a conservative Republican group features Donald Trump as a kind of White House Grim Reaper who relentlessly lies while people die of COVID-19.

The spot was produced by the “never-Trumper” Lincoln Project, whose  founders include harsh Trump critic George Conway, the lawyer husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway.

As COVID-19 continues to spread and the death toll surpasses 90,000, Trump “will lie” and he will “tweet instead of lead,” says the narrator in the ad. “He will blame others for his failures.” 

Trump’s behavior and the deaths will continue week after week “until you do something about it,” the ad concludes.

It’s airing this week in the Washington, D.C., area.

“If there is one thing we can count on in the coming weeks, it’s that Donald Trump will continue to fail and embarrass the people he is elected to serve,” Lincoln Project co-founder Jennifer Horn said in a statement.

The group’s last ad, “Mourning in America,” struck a nerve with Trump, who lashed out on Twitter, calling members of The Lincoln Project “loser types.”

After that, The Lincoln Project collected $1.4 million in new contributions, organizers reported. 

Check out the video up top.

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